Closing arguments begin in Smith drug trial

LOS ANGELES The prosecution began its closing arguments first against Smith's lawyer-boyfriend Howard K. Stern and Drs. Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich.

The three have pleaded not guilty to providing the former Playboy model with excessive drugs while knowing she was an addict.

The judge then instructed the jurors on the law that will govern their decisions, telling them not to let sympathy or public opinion sway their verdicts. He also said a conspiracy conviction must only be reached if the defendants agreed to commit the alleged crimes.

The closing arguments are aimed at swaying jurors who will deliberate on several charges against Stern, Kapoor and Eroshevich.

A judge has already thrown out some of the charges, citing insufficient evidence.

At issue is whether the former model was given excessive drugs, whether the defendants gave her fake prescriptions and whether she was actually a drug addict.

Assistant District Attorney David Barkhurst charges that the three defendants furnished excessive medications for which there was no legitimate purpose. Barkhurst said they knew Smith had been treated at the Betty Ford Center for abuse of alcohol and Vicodin in 1996.

Barkhurst said the biggest red flag was when Smith was recovering from a Jet Ski accident. Barkhurst said Kapoor prescribed Dilaudid, one the most powerful pain medications available, to Smith after she asked for it by name. Kapoor did not consult with the doctor who had previously treated her, nor did he order an X-ray or MRI, according to Barkhurst.

Barkhurst also noted that Smith checked herself into Cedars-Sinai to get off her medications after she found out she was pregnant.

Erosovich, Smith's friend and psychiatrist, is accused of fraud in writing prescriptions for her using multiple false names.

Barkhurst claims Stern, who allegedly was at the center of the conspiracy, requested the drugs for Smith, signed for them at the pharmacies and shuttled them to her home in the Bahamas.

The three defense attorneys are expected to plead for the doctors and for Stern to be acquitted, claiming that they cared for Smith and were trying to help her with medical concerns.

The three are not charged in Smith's 2007 overdose death, which was ruled accidental.

The case could go to the jury by Thursday. The defendants face unspecified fines and prison sentences if convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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